This year’s highly anticipated flagship graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia are not normal. Maybe we shouldn’t expect that. In 2020, AMD finally showed it had the potential to overtake Nvidia in terms of raw gaming performance, and of course Nvidia is desperate to maintain that lead.
More inflated than inflation
But as a result, both companies’ new GPUs have blown up in a way we’ve never seen before. They inflated more than inflation itself. They’re suddenly both much more expensive and physically massive in a way we’ve seen this decade if not before.
Here I made a chart to show you:
We’re in the middle of a dramatic economic downturn, if not a full-blown recession – we’ve had it 15-16 percent inflation since 2020, when Nvidia and AMD released their last flagship GPUs. But the starting price of the RTX 4080 is 71.5 percent more expensive than the RTX 3080. AMD’s 7900 XT is 38.5 percent more expensive than the 6800 XT.
When my colleague Tom reviewed Nvidia’s new graphics card, he found it to be 50 percent faster than the previous generation, but such gains aren’t unheard of from gen-over-gen without a corresponding price increase. And I would say that the performance is almost irrelevant. Both Nvidia and AMD regularly release very enthusiast-class GPUs like the 3090 Ti or Titan with excess memory and/or exotic cooling for those willing to pay for every bit of performance, but the 4080 and 7900 XT aren’t: they’re not. are the “normal” flagships, and both companies are now targeting those types of GPUs at a more exclusive audience.
Performance doesn’t matter if you can’t afford a $1,000 GPU at all or if you can’t afford to fit it in your case – again, the volume of these GPUs has also grown 30 to 60 percent in one generation (2.5 slots or even 3 slots of GPU is apparently the new normal).
We’d already seen nearly every third-party GPU vendor sell these companies’ last-generation chips on boards with inflated prices and sizes, but I’d hoped that Nvidia and AMD themselves would stay the course.
I can only hope this bloat doesn’t trickle down to the rest of Nvidia’s and AMD’s GPU lineups. It was great to see the renaissance of the last decade wearable and affordable small form factor PCsand trends like this make them less viable. If I can’t pack a future 5060 Ti or 8700 XT into a delightfully small case by 2025, I’m probably going to cry.